When she wakes up, she immediately recalls the last bib she threw to the Goodwill, the last piece of fabric that remained. She’d already been done with the shoes, the little shirts, the pants and the onesies.
Her eyes well as she fingers the rope, her bed companion she spoons in sleep.
The zoo is always empty when she goes, which she likes. She can push through and really get what she wants. She doesn’t go to see the animals. She goes to feel less alone. And the animals always provide, even if she doesn’t see them. Just knowing they are there and always will be. Seeing the changes in the exhibits, the color gradients, the incline of a path, however jarring and resistant, is welcome. The surprising in the ordinary, in the known. Routine. The unknown is a burden girdled to prayer.
The last time she prayed was the day she buried her son. She prayed for the impossible. Then waited. But it wasn’t hers. That prayer belonged to the earth.
When the rope tickles her palms in her sleep, she sees, so clear and possible, what she thinks she needs, what she wants, in dreams, then wakes up and moves into the heat of a new day, forgetting.
She’s a haunted house, who lies about her occupants.
“I hope the last prayer I hear is the sound of the branch breaking,” she says.
Minutes pass watching the ceiling fan circle.
Troy James Weaver lives in Wichita, Kansas. He is normal.